Wudang Kung Fu is one of China’s most famous systems of Kung Fu. Wudang Mountain is the birthplace of internal martial arts where the great Daoist priest Zhang San Feng came to live as hermit and learn the Daoist methods of immortality. During his time in Wudang Zhang San Feng created Neijiaquan, or what is now more commonly referred to as Taijiquan. Showing great respect for the long history of deep knowledge and culture Wudang was named a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1994.
Wudang Kung Fu by using traditional self-defense and fighting technique as its foundation, implementing theory derived from the Yi Jing (Book of Changes) and Daoist neidan technique gradually a distinct system was created that gave shape to a truly unique style of training. The core of Wudang Martial Arts is comprised of the theory of the waxing and waning of yin and yang, the changes of the Ba Gua (the eight trigrams of the Yi Jing), and the phases and interactions of the Five Elements. Wudang Kung Fu encapsulates the deep and profound philosophical traditions of China including Tai Chi, Yin Yang, Five Element, and Ba Gua philosophical traditions and theories. It combines this theory with fighting theory and technique, training and cultivation principles, and fighting strategy as methods of searching to understand the natural laws of life. We use Kung Fu as a method of self-cultivation in order to improve our health and our wisdom. This is the great treasure of Wudang Kung Fu.
The entire body of Wudang Kung Fu is comprised of Wuji, Taiji, and Liang Yi. Taijiquan, Liang Yi Quan, Xing Yi Quan, Ba Gua Zhang, Wudang Sword and other internal kung fu systems are representative of Wudang Kung Fu. Wudang Kung Fu maintains the traditions and unique styles of the different systems. It uses Daoist philosophy and theory to guide, and also combines the study of Daoist medicine, the Yi Jing, and nei dan health cultivation methodology as its overall guiding principles and disciplines. Alongside these it fuses Kung Fu fighting skills and exercises to strengthen the body and places great emphasis on understanding the body’s energy channels and acupuncture points. Wudang Kung Fu greatly stresses the importance of establishing a strong foundation in internal practice. By practicing to synthesize and coordinate the internal qi and the external body there is born a unification of internal and external. Using the qi for explosive power, borrowing power, becoming adept in using the soft to overcome the hard, using stillness to regulate movement, possessing a great unification of soft and hard, nimbly turning, circling, and evading and many other techniques are all characteristic traits of “internal kung fu”.
Relaxed, natural movement, a soft external and strong internal, moving like clouds and flowing water, continuous and unimpeded action and many other techniques are Wudang’s great attributes that distinguish it from other kung fu.
In keeping with improvements in modern living conditions, people all over the world are looking to improve their health. As a result there are many different systems of health improvement that are springing up all over. China possesses thousands of years of development in self-defense practices, different artistic forms of self-expression and various methods and systems of health cultivation. The reason that Wudang Kung Fu has been able to continuously prosper up to today without being drowned out by modern trends is because it maintains a truly unique cultural character; its primary focus is on its oldest and most practically applicable value – health cultivation.
Ancient Daoist practices apply the theories of combining movement and stillness, internal and external, refining and cultivating, and the physical with the mental/emotional/spiritual as the major focuses for cultivation. These practices are used to balance and fortify the body’s original qi, vitality and spirit. The cultivation of jing, qi and shen as well as the physical body are given significant importance. Specifically in the methods of refining and cultivating one follows the method of the meridians or energy channels of the body. Daoist Health Cultivation uses dao yin (Daoist stretching and breathing exercises), qigong, wushu/gongfu methods in order to harmonize and improve the circulation of the meridians, improve the circulation of qi and blood, and harmonize yin and yang within the body – thereby achieving great improvement in overall health.